A North Korean fishing vessel collided with a Japanese surveillance boat and sank about 20 crew on board, according to Japanese authorities conducting a rescue operation.
The incident took place about 350 kilometers northwest of the Noto Peninsula (central Japan), in the Sea of Japan and in waters of Japan's exclusive economic zone, a Japanese Fisheries Agency official told a news conference.
The Japanese authorities warned the North Korean vessel that it had invaded Japanese waters and ordered the vessel to leave the area, according to an agency spokesman.
After the collision, the North Korean vessel began to sink and its crew fell into the water, according to the Japanese authorities, who are trying to rescue fishermen.
The Japan Fisheries Agency indicated that there were no Japanese injured in the accident.
Hundreds of cases of North Korean vessels entering Japanese waters, as well as fishermen rescued by the Japanese Coast Guard or found lifeless after shipwrecks, have been reported in recent years.
North Korean fishermen are believed to often turn away from their coasts in search of higher catches due to food shortages in their country or to meet state production quotas.
. (tagsToTranslate) News Journal (t) JN (t) World